Mac Jones didn't light up the box score on Sunday vs. the New York Jets, but the New England Patriots' rookie quarterback still managed to earn his first NFL victory.
Jones completed 22 of his 30 pass attempts but tallied only 186 yards through the air in the 25-6 win. Most of the plays called for the first-round draft pick were screens and short passes designed to move the chains.
Is this conservative approach a cause for concern going forward? Should we expect Jones and the Patriots to start pushing the ball downfield more as the season progresses? Here's what our Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry had to say on a brand new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast.
"My slant from this game is this: your reasons for the Patriots passing game being as conservative as it is are right," Perry said. "If you think it's the offensive tackle problem, you're right. If you think it's Josh McDaniels' playcalling, you're also right. If you think it's Mac Jones not being willing to push the ball downfield, he'll tell you himself you're correct as well. ...
"I think they're all correctable because I don't think Trent Brown has an injury right now that's going to hamper him for the entire season. I don't think Josh McDaniels is going to call one-fifth of Mac Jones' dropbacks as screen passes. And Mac Jones acknowledged he can do a better job of pushing the ball downfield."
Despite Jones being toward the bottom of the league in terms of air yards per attempt, Perry and Curran are optimistic we'll see that change sooner rather than later.
"This is the baseline. This is him in his first games and it's going to continue to go up," Curran said.
"First games and without a right tackle. I would say those are the two barriers to pushing the ball a little further downfield," Perry replied. "I do believe it will get better, but if you're one of these people who says, 'I know he completed 70 percent of his passes, but it's just not looking that great,' I think you're OK in feeling that way."
Also discussed in this episode: Why you should be optimistic about the Patriots fixing their errors. The good and the bad from the Patriots on Sunday. And is there cause for concern with the Pats run game?